Watergate Salad

Oh sheesh, this is an oldy but goody. I remember back in the 70’s when it became all the rage following the “Watergate” scandal. People would snicker and wink whenever they served this salad, “It’s Watergate salad,” they’d say knowingly. For years following Watergate the word ‘gate’ was attached to anything politically scandalous. I think that play on words ended about the time a certain someone wearing a particular blue dress hid beneath the presidential desk. We probably had to stop using the suffix ‘gate’ because it wouldn’t have made sense to say something like “blue dressgate” or “I did not have sex with that womangate” or ” under the Oval Office deskgate”. We definitely couldn’t call it “Billgate” because we already had one of those except that he was Bill Gates with an “s” and despite the fact that he started out with a bad reputation for working his employees to death and gobbling up the computer industry and seemingly being the megalomaniac of all geekdom, he has ended up being a rather excellent human being…gives staggering amounts of money away. And think about it–where would we be without Windows? Seriously.

Did I just go off on a political tangent? It’s 1:00 in the morning and my mind is so brilliantly clear at this time of the morning. All of my loose screws stop rattling around in my brain and everything settles down into a general state of sublime harmony with the universe as I know it.

So, Watergate Salad. This went splendidly with our Christmas dinner; the perfect counter point to the general savoriness of our meal. It’s delicious and probably ought to be considered more of a dessert than a salad. Maybe it is called a salad because it is green. I don’t know. I mean, let’s do a quick review of the ingredients and you raise your hand when you think I list something that is not found in a dessert: pudding………..marshmallows………crushed pineapple……….pecans……….Cool Whip. (FYI–if you counted the dots and it is driving you crazy that I have a random number of dots between each word, then you may want to see a doctor about that little problem. Just saying.) Okay, so have you decided whether this is a dessert or a salad? I’ll make it easy on you; since we know that Watergate has become synonymous with prevarication, this is definitely a salad.

Watergate Salad
Recipe as found at Kraft Recipes

  • 1 (3.4 ounce) box instant pistachio pudding
  • 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, with juice (do NOT drain)
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (I did not use these)
  • 1 1/2 cups thawed non-dairy whipped topping (such as Cool Whip)


  1. Mix together the pistachio pudding, crushed pineapple with juice, marshmallows, and pecans (if using).
  2. Stir in the non-dairy whipped topping. Cover and chill for 1 or more hours.


  1. says

    I just made this watergate salad too. I was doing a test run for a 70’s themed party I’m having and this one my “I’m not a crook” watergate salad. LOL! I was totally surprised when I saw someone else had posted this throwback to the ’70’s delight. It was really yummy. 🙂 Wishing you the best for 2012… may all your dreams come true!! ~ Ramona

  2. says

    Curry and Comfort–That’s funny! I was surfing the internet looking for something or other and I saw Watergate salad mentioned. I used to really like that salad, but had forgotten all about it over the years. I’m glad I found it again. So, what else are you going to do for your 70’s party? I saw on your blog that you have made ambrosia and grape jelly meatballs. I just bought a fun retro cookbook from Southern Living and looking through it brings back memories from when I was young.

  3. says

    Hi Terri.. we’re really doing a 70’s fondue party. The ambrosia, Watergate and meatballs are just more yummies to enjoy. 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful new year!! All the best for 2012! ~ Ramona

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